Foster-First Programs on the Rise in the U.S. Ensure Good Fits While Reducing Surrenders
Have you ever heard of a foster-first program? It’s where you bring a rescue animal home for two weeks to determine whether or not you and the animal are a good fit for one another before proceeding with adoption. When we say “you,” we mean you, your home, and your lifestyle. That could include the hours you keep and those spent away from home.
It’s not intended to be nosy or controlling but rather to spare the animal from being shuffled back and forth between the institution caring for it and the failed adopter. Call it a free trial period, if you will.
Foster First, Adopt Later
These programs have become extremely popular with smaller rescues that are primarily volunteer-based in nature that depend on their own pool of foster caregivers to tend to the animals, rather than storing them in kennels at sterile brick-and-mortar facilities. You contact the rescue, let them know you’re interested in a particular pet, and then fill out an application. They will review it and determine if you might be eligible based on the information you provided to them.
In some sense, it’s not that different from adopting an animal from HALO Rescue. With HALO, you fill out an app and a representative or home agent will come out for a home inspection to determine if you really do qualify for pet ownership. Actually, what they’re doing is verifying that everything you told them in order to adopt the animal isn’t a bunch of hooey you were spouting to get what you wanted.
For instance, they may feel that an animal would be best suited in a home with an older more dominant dog and that a large backyard would be optimal for the health of the animal to be adopted. How would or should that be a dealbreaker to not have either of those in place? If the dog you want is a younger male and a working breed that needed to be kept in line and provided with regular mental and physical stimulation, it makes perfect sense.
These types of precautions are necessary to cut down on animal surrenders and are in the best interest of the pet. They do not understand why they are being rejected and returned, and rescues want to cut down on or eliminate altogether these sad, confusing experiences for the furballs caught in the middle. So, the next time you hear of a set-up like this, don’t poo-poo it. Applaud it and support it and the organization, instead.Whizzco